A SMARTPHONE app developed by Southampton doctors is leading the fight against hospital infections.

MicroGuide was created by a team of doctors at Southampton General Hospital to provide concise bedside information on common infections and what antibiotics are needed to tackle them.

And since its launch almost four years ago the team says it has reduced Clostridium difficile infections (C.diff) from 60 per month to less than 10.

The app, which was the first of its kind when launched in July 2011, also offers alternative treatment suggestions for patients with antibiotic-resistant infections, leading to a drop in high-risk broad-range antibiotic prescriptions from 40 per cent to 28 per cent.

It has scored University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the General, a £50,000 prize at the annual NHS Innovation Challenge Awards earlier this week.

Pharmacist Dr Kieran Hand, one of the creators, said: “With many antibiotics currently prescribed and used for mild infections such as sore throats and colds, patients in hospital who develop complex infections such as kidney and bloodstream infections are increasingly infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”

He added: “MicroGuide provides expert guidance for medical staff at the point of care when treating patients with infection in situations not in their immediate area of expertise.

“The result is that this technology has had a major impact on clinical care, helping to significantly reduce prescribing of high-risk antibiotics and, in turn, the number of Clostridium difficile infections.”

The team also included critical care expert Dr Sanjay Gupta, microbiologists Dr Adriana Basarab and Dr Ann Pallett and infectious diseases specialists Dr Sanjay Patel and Professor Saul Faust.

The prize money will be invested in a new pioneering system to suggest bespoke treatment for individual patients with infections to anticipate and reduce treatment failure and side effects.